Nothing will stop the U.S. Air Force!

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Oleksandra G. Manko
  • Nellis AFB Public Affairs
"Down we dive spouting our flames from under, off with one helluva roar!" Many have sang these lines dozens or even hundreds of times - in basic training and during numerous Air Force ceremonies, but there are few who have seen and heard what lies behind those words.

This year, the Nellis firepower demonstration gave many the opportunity to witness firsthand what Robert Crawford wrote about in the Air Force song.

"The purpose of a firepower demonstration is to display to the American people and to the world the combat capabilities of the Air Force," said Michael Estrada, deputy chief of public affairs at Nellis AFB. "This year, we hosted about 50 personal and professional staffers from the U.S. House and Senate."

The 80-minute demo, which included a security forces live-fire exercise, was preceded by a two-hour video presentation featuring interviews with pilots of participating planes and explanation of the upcoming scenarios. Later on, the two screens gave close-ups of the aircraft and zoomed in on the explosions that took place a few miles away from the audience.

The event kicked off at 12:40 p.m. with a 20-minute demonstration by the 99th Ground Combat Training Squadron simulating desert warfare that Airmen face in Iraq and Afghanistan. The presentation included 40 mm grenade launchers, .50-caliber machine guns and M-60 light machine guns.

An hour-long flying demonstration featured such well-known aircraft as the F-22A Raptor, F-15C and E, F-16, F-117, B-2, AC-130 gunship, A-10s, HH-60G rescue helicopters, B-1B and B-52. The planes simulated taking out enemy communications and computer systems, suppressing and destroying antiaircraft systems, and establishing total air dominance. At that point, when the enemy no longer has an air force, more U.S. aircraft are shifted to support the ground forces. The show also included a simulation of a friendly aircraft loss with subsequent rescue of the pilot by rescue helicopters.

"For the most part, the only time anyone would see this type of combat would be the enemy, and they don't usually live to tell about it," said Mr. Estrada.